These Guys Destroyed Their $2,000 Nikon Lens for a Steel Wool Photo

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Image markup done by the photographers.

All images are copyrighted Just 2 Guys Creative and are used with permission.

In the pantheon of dangerous photography projects, none intrigues quite so much as steel wool photography. You’ve most likely seen an image somewhere of white hot circle of light jettisoning thousands of orange-yellow streaks of light. Essentially, you have a friend stuff steel wool inside your average whisk, attach that whisk to a rope, light the steel wool on fire, spin the steel wool in whisk round and round really fast and take a picture with a slow shutter speed. The result is a light doughnut with hair.

There’s a globetrotting two-man photography operation called Just 2 Guys Creative, and they recently had a bad spell making the following image.

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This is the hairy light doughnut they made at the dry lake beds in Las Vegas. Unfortunately for them, one of the flaming hot steel wool streaks struck the front element of their Nikon lens head on, causing a pretty severe scratch.

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What compounds this for them is that they didn’t have insurance on it, and moreover, there’s no filter, as you can see here. Curiously they were using a Nikon lens on a Canon 5D Mk III. Regardless, let this be a cautionary tale for all you steel wool aficionados. Have insurance, and use a filter.

If you want to see more of Just 2 Guys Creative’s adventures, you can check out their Instagram.